Article courtesy of Staff Writer | November 1, 2014 | Youth Health | Shared as educational material
While water is an essential part of every man’s diet, as the body is composed of over 55% fluid, it can also be dangerous, even increasing the risk of heart disease, especially when it becomes contaminated with harmful elements such as arsenic.
Dr. Ana Navas-Acien of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been following the many case studies that show the relationship between arsenic and drinking water, particularly one that comes from private wells. These researches were conducted in different parts of the world. In the United States, there’s hardly any, so she took the responsibility and began her own research.
She and her colleagues worked mainly with Native Americans living across the Southwest as well as North and South Dakota since the 1980s, eventually looking into the lifestyle of over 4,000 men and women, as well as their risk of exposure to arsenic. Many of these people still retrieve water from private wells.
She then compared the participants’ level of arsenic in their urine and the rate of cardiovascular disease in the population, and the link between both is strong. Based on her findings, even after considering other factors such as genetics, those individuals who had higher levels or long-term arsenic exposure developed a cardiovascular disorder at twice the rate of those who were less exposed to the element.
Arsenic, it turns out, has the unique ability to attach themselves to certain fat cell receptors, which can then modify the way the body metabolizes fat. In the process, this leads to the buildup of plaque on the artery walls, clogging blood’s normal passageway and restricting the amount of blood that flows.
The Environmental Protection Agency has actually set a safety standard when it comes to the level of contamination in drinking water, but private wells are not regulated in this aspect.